In a recent interview with CNBC-TV18, Raghuram Rajan, the former RBI governor who left the office in 2016, has said that 7.5% growth rate is not enough for employing 12 million people in the country. India had slumped to a three year low of 5.7% in the first quarter of FY18, but disruptions caused by demonetisation and the implementation of the GST are phasing out and India is expected to grow to 7.5% in next two years. But Raghuram Rajan has said it is not good enough. The World Bank also noted the same in a half-yearly report on India’s growth.

He said that India has the potential to grow at 10%, but that would require a lot of work. He said that reforms in India are happening but more slowly than one would wish. He added that India may move up to 10%, provided some kind of source of demand exists. He anticipated that reforms would be shelved till next general election. According to him, India is entering into a poll-bound financial year and it is a popular belief that with the impending General Election in 2019, there would be fewer reforms and more populist measures.

Another question which he raised in the interview is about the Chinese model of development which India is trying to replicate. The former RBI governor said that China’s economic growth boom on the back of its manufacturing industry and cheaper goods cannot be replicated in India. He said that world has become less receptive to exports, and asked that even if India becomes a manufacturing giant overnight, who’s going to buy its stuff?

There is no doubt that India can reap demographic dividend only if it can productively engage its young workforce. The innovative programmes like skill development, make in India and start up India have not been able to buoy the job market in India due to many constraints. Government’s latest quarterly survey on employment in eight key sectors reveals that there’s been a net addition of just 64,000 jobs across these eight sectors between April and June 2017. Even more worryingly, the manufacturing sector lost 87,000 jobs over this period, indicating that Make in India remains a distant dream. The labour bureau’s quarterly survey shows that the education and health sectors between them added 1.3 lakh jobs in April-June 2017, while the other six sectors – manufacturing, construction, trade, transport, accommodation & restaurants, and the IT/BPO industry – put together saw a net loss of 66,000 jobs. Education was by far the biggest job creator, adding 99,000 jobs over this quarter. Health saw an addition of 31,000 jobs. The survey, which in its current format has been running since April 2016, covers both regular and casual employment as well as the selfemployed in these sectors.

Since April 2016, there has been a net addition of 4.8 lakh jobs in these eight sectors with over half from education (1.7 lakh) and health (1 lakh). That translates to a 2.3% growth in employment over 15 months, an annualised growth rate of barely 1.8%. This rate is not enough to even take care of new entrants to the job market each year, leave alone reducing unemployment.

The last decade was described by many as jobless growth because the main driver of growth in India all through these years has been the services sector, particularly financial and software services which do not absorb much labour per unit contribution to GDP by very nature. The Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian had suggested in the last economic survey to focus more on labour intensive industries like textiles and leather, more so because China is leaving this space to graduate into high technology based industries. One of the major employing sectors that is metals and particularly steel industry is not doing well for quite some time and it has employment implications too. There would be certainly adverse impact of winds of protection blowing in the world, especially in the US and Europe. India needs to respond with all these challenges swiftly and imaginatively because there is still chances of more automation and technological disruptions in the world impinging on employment prospects.

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WhatsApp security risk alert!

Indian Army issued advisory to people about Chinese hackers. India ranks higher than its global peers in being a victim of malware and ransomware attacks. (Reuters) WhatsApp security risk: The Additional Directorate General of Public Information of the Indian Army has released a video on Twitter alerting people of Chinese hackers. The tweet advised people to be alert and said that hacking was on the horizon, for those who are inattentive. They also instructed people to always check social media and be cautious about personal and group accounts. The video accused the Chinese of penetrating Indian digital world. As per the video, Whatsapp groups were the new ways of hacking into one’s system.

It also said that Chinese phone numbers that begin with the digits +86 pop up on your WhatsApp groups and begins to extract all the data on the phone. The video by the ADGP Indian Army also advised users to be vigilant about the things happening in their social groups. People were advised to conduct regular audits of their WhatsApp groups and be careful with the phone numbers that started with +86. The Indian Army also advised people about updating WhatsApp once they have changed their numbers. It also said, “Destroy the SIM card if you change your number and delete your WhatsApp on that number”, to ensure that Chinese do not mine personal data through hacking.

The warning by the Indian Army comes months after India and China had a 73-day long stand-off at Doklam. Though the Government of India intends to hold extensive talks in the coming month with the Chinese, threats continue to loom over not just India’s border, but also over India’s information systems.

India’s gearing cyber security system

As in most countries in the world, India’s use of the internet is immense. As per a report by Statista, an online statistics portal, India stands second behind China in the world to have the most number of internet users. There has been no paradigm shift at any legal or executive level that marks to resolve the issues of cyber security in India. Though Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) is the only national agency in charge of cybersecurity mandated under IT Amendment Act 2008, it is actually the collective efforts of Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, and the office of NSA that ensures cybersecurity of the nation.

India ranks higher than its global peers in being a victim of malware and ransomware attacks. Reports suggest that India was the third most affected country during the WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017. Diwakar Dayal from Cisco had earlier told the media that India seeing a lack of close to 4 lakh cyber security experts. This huge lacunae in India and China’s cybersecurity capacity surely is a threat. India’s nodal agency for cybersecurity CERT-In which brings out monthly bulletins, annual reports, highlights threats, attacks and trends in cybersecurity. However, a report on CERT-In by the Centre for Internet and Society claims that there is lack of an ecosystem that is proactive in addressing these issues. The report also suggests that CERT-In restructure itself to be dynamic and interact more with other government agencies to consistently respond to security threats.

India’s National Security Council report suggests that China has more than a lakh cyber security experts making it one of the most strong combatants in cyber warfare. The Chinese military doctrine of “Active Defence” can be clearly seen in the way Chinese attempt to take charge of information space. The new Information Warfare (IW) faculty of the PLA is working towards combined employment of network warfare tools and electronic warfare weapons against its enemies, says Deepak Sharma in his IDSA focus report on China’s Cyber Warfare Capability and India’s Concerns.

In 2016, India and Russia signed a massive cybersecurity agreement on sidelines of BRICS summit in Goa. Last month, India and Canada also held high-level talks and have agreed to strengthen ties to resolve issues related to security. Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj also met her counterpart Chrystia Freeland to discuss matters related to trade and security. On the other hand, the Indian Army has been working constantly to combat cyber threats as well. Last year, the Indian Army had warned its soldiers along the Chinese border from using a host of mobile applications like WhatsApp, Snapchat etc. It also came out with a comprehensive list of applications that were deemed as vulnerable to the Chinese hackers.

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फ्रांस के पूर्व राष्ट्रपति निकोलस सरकोजी को भ्रष्टाचार के मामले में पूछताछ के लिए हिरासत में लिया गया है. सारकोजी पर लिबिया के पूर्व तानाशाह मुअम्मर गद्दाफी से 2007 के राष्ट्रपति चुनावों में चुनाव प्रचार के लिए नोटों से भरे सूटकेस लेने का आरोप है. उन पर भ्रष्टाचार, मनी लॉन्ड्रिंग और टैक्स चोरी जैसे आरोप लगाए गए हैं.
2013 में लेबनानी मूल के फ्रेंच कारोबारी जाएद ताकीदीन ने एक खोजी वेबसाइट मीडियापार्ट से बातचीत में स्वीकार किया कि उसने सरकोजी और उनके चीफ ऑफ स्टाफ क्लाउड गेंट को नोटों से भरा सूटकेस सौंपा था, यद्यपि सरकोजी और उनके चीफ ऑफ स्टाफ इस आरोप से इंकार करते रहे हैं.
जनवरी में एक फ्रेंच कारोबारी अलेक्जेंडर जौहरी के लंदन में गिरफ्तार होने के बाद इन आरोपों को और बल मिला. फ्रांसीसी पोर्टल और दैनिक ली मोंड ने इस मुद्दे को जोरशोर से उठाया.
उल्लेखनीय है कि राष्ट्रपति बनने के बाद सरकोजी ने लीबिया के तानाशाह मुअम्मर गद्दाफी को फ्रांस में विशिष्ट अतिथि के रूप में आमंत्रित किया था, हालांकि बाद में वे लीबिया के खिलाफ नाटो के हवाई हमले में भी शामिल रहे.